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12 October 2021

Rustenburg – The annual get-together of the people illegally occupying portion 1 of the farm Rietvlei 271, Rustenburg (along the N4 close to Ananda) ended the same as it usually does. 


Every year people come from afar to join in on the illegal occupation, new friendships are formed and existing ones are strengthened. A lot of money is also spent on fuel and building material which are eventually just destroyed by the TLBs of the municipality.


On Wednesday 6 October 2021 the latest structures were removed, and the people were dispersed. This piece of land has been targeted since 2016. 


When they tried again in 2018, the Rustenburg Local Municipality (RLM) obtained a court order to have the trespassers evicted. 

On 11 September 2021 they again attempted to illegally occupy it. RLM again turned to the courts and obtained another eviction order that was served by the Sheriff on 3 October.

According to the court order the occupants of the land had three days to vacate, failing which, the South African Police Service and the municipality had the right to act on the court order, and remove them forcefully. Even after the court order was served, various cars and trucks with building supplies were still seen entering the property…

RLM spokesperson Thapelo Matebesi says in a press release: “The RLM has followed every step of the land invasion eviction procedure.

Subsequently, forceful evictions had to be carried out after invaders failed to comply with the court order within the three days allowed by the court.

The eviction process unfolded as expected, with no unusual incidents. This was done to uphold the rule of law, as well as not to set a precedent for such unlawful actions in the future”.

On the day of the eviction and with the assistance of Public Safety, police and various community watch groups blocked the roads leading to the occupied land. National Crime Assist (NCA) members kept watch on the adjacent farms, to protect lives and property in the event of tensions boiling over.


Once the TLBs moved in, all those trespassing on the property dispersed. However, the very same evening a large group of vehicles started gathering at the same spot, and left again, and as we started getting ready to go to print on Thursday evening, 7 October, reports came in of the property being invaded again…   


Platinum Weekly talked to Democratic Alliance ward 16 councillor Johan Cronje. “There are displaced people in the Rietvlei area. My predecessor identified a portion of land in 2016 where they can be relocated to. 


There, they will have access to services, be on transport routes and have a chance at a better quality of life.

That proposal to council (item) was rescinded in 2019. I did oppose the decision of council, and since then, it has been back and forth. All attempts to assist these people have been blocked at every corner because there are people who want to use them to capitalise and monopolise the situation for personal gain,” he said. 


Land ownership has been a burning issue and in the end we all just want our own property – a place that we can call home. 

For the people in Rietvlei who have been displaced, it has been an ongoing struggle. Many of them worked on nearby farms which were sold over the years and by now, many of these people have nowhere else to go. 

Their desperation has been exploited by certain parties for their own financial gain. The photos of people who staked their claim at this targeted piece of land show well-to-do people, driving expensive cars.

Various illegal structures were erected on the property.
The entrance to the piece of land which has been illegally occupied several times over the past few years.
Adding fuel to the fire. Fires were set and tyres burned near the back entrance to the property to try and prevent the TLB’s from entering.

 

The authorities reduced the structures to rubble in a very short space of time

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